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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 13I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 13’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 679.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonErfidrápa Óláfs helga

text and translation

Geir- hykk grimmligt vôru
gunnreifum Ôleifi
loghreytǫndum líta
lóns í -hvassar sjónir.
Þorðut þrœnzkir fyrðar
— þótti hersa dróttinn
ógurligr — í augu
ormfrôn séa hônum.

Hykk {{lóns log}hreytǫndum} vôru grimmligt líta í geirhvassar sjónir gunnreifum Ôleifi. Þrœnzkir fyrðar þorðut séa í ormfrôn augu hônum; {dróttinn hersa} þótti ógurligr.
‘I think it was fearful for the distributors of the flame of the lagoon [(lit. ‘flame-distributors of the lagoon’) GOLD > GENEROUS MEN] to look into the spear-sharp eyes of battle-glad Óláfr. The men from Trøndelag did not dare to look into his snake-bright eyes; the lord of hersar [KING = Óláfr] seemed terrifying.

notes and context

Óláfr breaks forward from his own shield-wall and the farmers are frightened at the sight of his face.

On the literary topos of the terrifying glance of the ruler, see Marold (1998a). As noted by Finnur Jónsson (Hkr 1893-1901, IV), Snorri Sturluson may well have used this stanza when describing Óláfr as having exceptional eyes: beautiful and so piercing as to be terrifying to look at when he was angry (ÍF 27, 4).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Sigvatr Þórðarson, 12. Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 13: AI, 260, BI, 242, Skald I, 125; Hkr 1893-1901, II, 489, IV, 168, ÍF 27, 380, Hkr 1991, II, 530 (ÓHHkr ch. 226); ÓH 1941, I, 571 (ch. 224), Flat 1860-8, II, 355; Jón Skaptason 1983, 168, 304.


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